The 343rd Fighter Group was based in Alaska from the autumn of 1942 and took part in the campaign against the Japanese in the Aleutian Islands.
The group was constituted on 3 September 1942 and activated in Alaska on 11 September, forming part of the Eleventh Air Force. At this point the Japanese held Attu and Kiska islands in the western Aleutians. The new group performed a wide range of duties, including bomber escort, attacked Japanese bases and facilities on the islands and hit Japanese shipping.
In May 1943 the United States recaptured Attu in a fierce battle, and in August US troops landed on Kiska only to find that the Japanese had already withdrawn. The group had a few more encounters with the Japanese, but its last opposed combat mission came in October 1943.
The war now began to move away from the Aleutian Islands. The 343rd was used as a patrol and reconnaissance unit, based on Attu Island, at the western tip of the Aleutians from January 1944 onwards.
During this period the Eleventh Air Force shrank quite dramatically. On 3 March 1944 XI Fighter Command was abolished and its personnel absorbed by the 343rd. The group also served as a training unit and carried mail. It was inactivated in Alaska on 15 August 1946.
1942-1945: Lockheed P-38 Lightning and Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
|3 September 1942||Constituted as 343rd Fighter Group|
|11 September 1942||Activated with Eleventh Air Force, Alaska|
|October 1943||Last combat mission|
|15 August 1946||Inactivated|
Lt Col John S Chennault:
11 Sep 1942
Lt Col Edgar A Boadway: 16 Nov 1942
Maj Edgar A Romberg: 10 Dec 1942
Lt Col Anthony V Grossetta: 19 Mar 1943
Lt Col James R Watt: 19 Apr 1943
Maj Edgar A Romberg: 25 May 1943
Lt Col William E Elder: 3 Jun 1943
Col Robert H Jones: 17 Oct 1943
Lt Col Dean Davenport: 18 Oct 1945
Maj Benjamin H King: 19 Jul-15 Aug 1946
Elmendorf Field, Alaska: 11
Ft Glenn, Alaska: Sep 1942
Elmendorf Field, Alaska: 3 Dec 1942
Adak: 7 Mar 1943
Amchitka: 25 Jul1943
Alexai Point, Alaska: 22 Jan 1944
Shemya: 5 Oct 1945-15 Aug 1946.
XI FC active March 42-Oct 43; disbanded 31 March 44
11th Fighter Squadron: 1942-46
18th Fighter Squadron: 1942-46
54th Fighter Squadron: 1942-46
344th Fighter Squadron: 1942-46
1942-44: XI Fighter Command; Eleventh Air Force